The County's Banker

The County Treasurer is, in effect, the county's banker. The treasurer has custody of the county's money from collection to investment, to redemption of county warrants.

Tax Collector's Duties
As tax collector for the county, the Treasurer bills and collects current taxes, including taxes on real property, personal property, manufactured homes, estate tax, vendors and cigarette tax. The Treasurer must work closely with the County Auditor who certifies the rates for most of the above taxes. The Treasurer must provide for payment of taxes by mail and in person.

Strict records must be kept and coordinated with real property records, including keeping track of third parties responsible for the payment of taxes. Accurate records must be kept of delinquent taxes. Collection of delinquent taxes and penalties is an important function, including working with the Auditor and Prosecutor and Sheriff to certify property for foreclosure.

The County Treasurer receives all county monies, whether they are payments made directly to the Treasurer's office or to any other county office. Pay-ins from other county offices are certified to certain accounts by the Auditor and deposited by the Treasurer. The Treasurer also receives wire transfers from banks and grants from the federal and state governments.

Record Keeper
The Treasurer must keep records and account for all county monies by posting receipts to individual accounts. As the county disburses payments, the Treasurer must redeem the warrants and post them to individual accounts. The Treasurer, thus, provides a check and balance system with the Auditor on county funds by keeping compatible records of every county receipt and disbursement and by keeping running balances of county funds. The Treasurer's transactions and funds must balance daily. The total receipts, disbursements and remaining funds in the Treasury must balance monthly between the Treasurer and the Auditor.

Investment Officer
The County Treasurer is also the county's investment officer. Working with the Investment Advisory Board, consisting of the Treasurer and 2 County Commissioners, the Treasurer must invest idle county funds to earn significant returns for the county treasury. In many counties, investment earnings are the third largest single source of revenue.

Treasurers must keep abreast of investment techniques which provide safe short-term returns, including such sophisticated procedures as repurchase of bonds for as short a period as a weekend or even overnight. Such transactions must be accomplished by wiring funds and securities back and forth and require knowledge of banking, bonds and securities. The Treasurer must secure daily rate quotes and invest accordingly. Individual account records must be kept for each investment and updated continuously.

Board of Revision
In addition to tax collection, accounting, and investment duties, the Treasurer serves on the Board of Revision, along with the Auditor and Chairman of the Board of Commissioners. The Board of Revision considers appeals on appropriateness of taxes assessed and may revise such assessments. The Treasurer also serves on the County Budget Commission, along with the Prosecutor and the Auditor. The Budget Commission reviews the tax budgets of all county subdivisions and determines that all tax levies are properly authorized and are necessary.

Automatic Data Processing Board
As a member of the Automatic Data Processing Board, the Treasurer helps to determine the data processing needs of the county and to review requests for new systems and equipment by county offices. As the key member of the Investment Advisory Board, the Treasurer helps to set the overall investment policy of the county.

Public Source of Information
The County Treasurer's Office is a source of information on taxes for the public other offices, subdivisions, schools and county businesses. Property owners are advised on how to meet their tax obligations, including the requirements and options for meeting delinquent tax obligations.

Working with Other County Offices
The Treasurer's office works closely with other county offices in many ways in addition to those already mentioned. These include working with the Prosecutor and the Sheriff on foreclosures, with the Engineer and the Auditor in collecting assessments on physical improvements such as ditches, water and sewer systems, and with other offices in investing county funds.

Facing Problems
Of course the major problems faced by County Treasurers include inadequate funding to carry out all of the office's required functions. However, specifically, foreclosure is never accomplished on many delinquent properties because of the cost of foreclosure proceedings. Even a small county needs the attention of a full-time assistant prosecutor for foreclosures. Because many delinquent properties are vacant lots, the current complex, expensive procedure renders collection unfeasible.

Collection of taxes on oil and gas royalties is also difficult under current state law. Information provided by oil and gas companies is often incorrect or outdated. Current state law does not provide for enforcement of collection.

Departments Working Together for a Better Relationship
Areas in which county officeholders should work together, then, include obtaining financial help for counties, provision for enforcement of taxation of oil and gas royalties or elimination of such taxation, creation of a less costly foreclosure procedure, and creation of a delinquent tax collection department to be supported by those collections.

The conflicts that arise between Treasurer and Commissioners often involve the budget and personnel issues. All of us as county officeholders should become more familiar with each-others operations. This might head off some of the problems which often result from misunderstandings. We need to hold regular meetings and stress cooperation.

Many officials seem to think that the Ohio Committee of County Officials is ineffective as a lobby force. We need to quit complaining and work together. Working together, we could have one of the most effective lobbies in Columbus and could accomplish much for county government and our constituents.